STRIKE TAPS, PRIDE’S PLACE, FEDOR,SHAQ, THOSE SHORTS

STRIKE TAPS, PRIDE’S PLACE, FEDOR,SHAQ, THOSE SHORTS

–Kenny Rice

It’s the most convoluted, unfairly documented record in MMA–tap out due to strikes. Huh? Was he knocked out or did he tap? It shouldn’t be that difficult to assess, yet it remains a deep gray area that borders on being devoid of common sense. Strikes and tap out? It’s an oxymoron.

Nine out of ten times this “decision” is made it’s because of two things: The referee froze and should’ve stopped the fight with a TKO long before the fighter getting hammered by punches had to tap with what little energy he had remaining to let the ref know to wake up. Or the fighter simply panicked feeling the force of blows on his face and body and rather than attempt escape, just patted the mat, finished. It does seem most of these “tap out due to strikes” happen in smaller shows.

Granted there is a ten percent window where the barrage of hits overwhelmed the fighter as he fell to the mat and before being completely whipped as the opponent leaped on top to finish him, taps out. Still it was the origination of the set up for the ending, it was the strikes, i.e. a TKO that determined the fight.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, but the fighter tapped something, his opponent’s shoulder, the canvas, see he tapped something therefore it is a tap out by strikes. And at one time I would be writing this on a typewriter not a computer. Let’s slowly but surely drag this “decision” into the 21st century and really look at how these fights are being determined. If a series of punches or kicks was the reason the fight was over, the opponent lost via TKO.

Anyone who just walked into the room to watch his first MMA fight and saw this unfold would laugh at the verdict that inexplicably has become so woven into the MMA fabric several knowledgeable fans still can’t grasp the logic.
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PRIDE deserves its place in MMA history. For many it was the introduction to the sport while the UFC was swimming in the red before Zuffa became all encompassing. Without Japanese based PRIDE contributions perhaps it can be argued MMA in North America would not be as popular as it is today.

Inside MMA viewer Jason Parks from Knoxville, Tennessee posed an insightful question regarding the fighters of that era. Pondering why so few of them “billed as best in the world” weren’t when they came to the U.S. he asks “Is because they were not fighting any real competition in Japan or were they in their prime during the PRIDE days?”

A valid observation worthy of debate and discussion. I think you have to look at the records and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Dan Henderson stand out as the fighters with impact transitioning to the UFC. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Wanderlei Silva, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua have had their moments though short of expectations when they arrived on the scene, there is no denying their worth.

But as an avid fan of the American Basketball Association; with the three point line; the amazing slam dunks; the fast break style; without question setting the pace for the NBA as we know it now, only four franchises warranted coming over to the more established league in the mid 1970’s. The ABA influence helped make the NBA marketable. To a lesser extent PRIDE did this for the UFC.

What will always be unanswered leaving only speculation is why they never worked out a deal with the UFC to have head to head match ups with their champions. I presume it’s as much they weren’t certain they could consistently stack up with the best North America had to offer. They had talent but not depth on par with the UFC. It doesn’t diminish the achievements from the Far East but again the records speak loud and clear as to who had the superior fighters.

And as my friend and colleague Bas Rutten says, he wouldn’t be perceived by fans worldwide as he is today had he not fought and won in the UFC, his legacy would have been different. Obviously Bas was that rare exception of a truly great universal fighter who didn’t need the security of PRIDE alone. He realized the UFC is the standard.

As Joe Keller from Washington state emailed us feeling it doesn’t make sense for Zuffa to cut Alistair Overeem and his teammates, it can all be tied into PRIDE. Winning in Japan and Europe is not the pinnacle, the UFC is and you have to respect, like them or not, their terms. The UFC won’t miss a beat without Overeem and the rest. Those fighters will have missed their best opportunity however.
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Along those lines Fedor Emelianenko is going back to Russia where M-1 will undoubtedly cushion the blow of his three straight losses by setting up winnable fights again. That he never fought in the UFC and his dubious departure from the U.S. has tarnished his legacy. He couldn’t sell out the Strikeforce Chicago event, and America sports fans are the best barometer, they eventually separate greatness and hype. This week on Inside MMA the always quotable Tito Ortiz is vehement in this, that Fedor’s lack of confidence to fight in the UFC shows he isn’t the greatest ever.

What should never be misconstrued is the gentleman Fedor is, a man of strong conviction and faith. A man of honor who is a tremendous fighter, but needed better management years ago. He deserved to fight Randy Couture and the sport did as well.
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Shaquille O’Neal is one of the 50 greatest NBA players ever. With four title rings and a Hall of Fame induction a given. Shaq is also incredibly knowledgeable about MMA. This week on Inside MMA he says it was training in that sport that made him better in the sport he excelled in for over a decade. He hints he might fight Hong Mon Choi someday. Shaq will win if it happens. A great athlete who has been training MMA seriously and respects the dedication, this won’t be a Jose Canseco fiasco.
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Moe from Columbia, Pennsylvania was at UFC 133 and correctly compares all the outrage over the briefs Dennis Hallman wore to the Octagon with the lack of uproar over Michael Bisping spitting in the cage. Why the anger over a bad fashion choice instead of the bigger issue of the insulting behavior of Bisping toward Jorge Rivera in February. That did rather quietly go away didn’t it? Maybe it’s because it is tougher to handle the serious issue compared to the downright silliness of Hallman’s underwear.

Dennis should have instead of the ‘I lost a bet’ defense said he was paying homage to the greats before him, to the era when those short shorts were in vogue. The first MMA throwback day.

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